By Mike Cugno

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HIALEAH (CBSMiami) — It was a life-changing moment for dozens of people at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Hialeah as they took their oath of allegiance – just one day before Independence Day.

During Monday’s ceremony, more than 100 people became U.S. citizens.

“We are very happy to have a naturalization ceremony in celebration of Independence Day. Today we have 155 different candidates from 23 different countries,” said Elizabeth Ferro with Hialeah’s field office.

Across the United States, over 15,000 people were naturalized Monday in more than 65 separate ceremonies. It was a dream come true for so many families.

“Today is such a momentous day, the day before the fourth of July,” said  Laquinta Mckinney from the Bahamas. “My kids are born here and I was limited to what I could do but now I feel like I’m able to do what I want to do and make a better life for myself and my family.”

In Hialeah the largest contingent is from the island nation of Cuba -some of whom like Jose Giralt could not wait to call themselves Americans.

“What it means to me is I can finally participate in our democracy so it’s a very happy day for me. I plan to be very active in the democratic system,” said Giralt.

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